Installing computer classes in one of the poorest regions of Thailand. That was the task of our volunteer team consisting of Klaas from Deloitte and Yvan and Jelle from Delaware Consulting. In a timeframe of 2 weeks this team had to install 5 new computer classes and repair all classes that were installed by Fund Isaan over the last 3 years. Did they succeed?
What did you expect?
To give you a short answer: yes, we did! Next to the 5 new computer classes, we also repaired the computers of the 11 existing classrooms. This had never been possible without the coordination and preparation of Rony Wuytjens, who is the founder of Fund Isaan. In the week before our arrival, he had arranged that all the computers and printers were delivered at the new schools and that the infrastructure, such as the internet connection and electricity, were in place.
A jump start
Our first stop was in Roi Et. In 2 days we installed 2 completely equipped computer classrooms. One in Ban Sarai School and another one in Thung Lang Phlapphla Chai School. The process was always the same, first install the hardware, make sure all software is updated, let the children have a test drive and finish off with a formal handover of the new installation.
After each installation, an official ceremony was organized by the school with some speeches of the director, the mayor, Rony and other representatives. Emotions rose to the top when leaving the school. Seeing happy children singing, shouting and applauding left quite an impression on us. This is what it was all about!
Still being impressed, we moved on to the next school Wat Rat Samakee in the province of Buri Ram. This was the last school which was located outside the province of Surin. After we finished this school we headed back to Prasat which was the home base of Fund Isaan in Surin. In this province we installed another computer classroom in Ban Sala School and we delivered Fund Isaan’s first portable class to Ban Phonduan School. You can find a map of all installed computer classrooms on Google maps.
The destructing power of dust
The remaining days we did the maintenance of 11 classrooms that were installed the years before. The most problems were caused by dust, inconsistent electricity and high temperatures. We found out that it was not always so easy to identify problems and sometimes we had to take a computer to the Fund Isaan office in Prasat. This was certainly a bigger challenge than installing the new computer classrooms.f
Time to relax
Thanks to a perfect planning we also found some spare time to do some visits and made a tour by scooter in the middle of the rice fields. We also visited the neighborhoods where the children of Isaan lived. This was a little bit shocking. I didn’t know Thailand was that poor and it is hard to describe this in words. The people just live in wooden huts, have no or little electricity and use polluted tap water. But they are very happy with the few things they have.
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Now, we realize this was a lot more than just installing computer classrooms. It wasn’t only a huge personal experience. The most important thing is that we opened up the internet to hundreds of students. By doing so, they can improve their education and discover the world outside Isaan.
Want to know more about the Fund Isaan projects? Check out their website!
Yvan Piens. You can follow Yvan on Twitter (@YvanPiens) or connect with him on LinkedIn
Jelle Slowack. You can follow Jelle on Twitter (@JelleSlowack) or connect with him on LinkedIn